Saturday, May 12, 2018

VTEC Solenoid Gaskets

One thing that's bugged me pretty much since I bought Lupa but surprisingly never got around to fixing was addressing an extremely minor oil leak resulting in gunk accumulating in the front of the engine. It's never leaked bad enough that oil was dripping but clearly some of it was seeping through otherwise there wouldn't be those stains.

Dirty engine from oil leak - 5-12-2018
Based on the location it's coming from I'm pretty sure it's from the VTEC solenoid and leaky solenoid gaskets are pretty common on S2000s as they age. Considering the car is now 13 years old (yikes a teenager), I think she's overdue for new gaskets. Normally I'd go OEM but Honda only makes replacement lower VTEC solenoid gaskets. Pretty much everyone uses replacement upper gaskets from Kraken Automotive so I figured it would be safe to just get the upper and lower from them.

New upper and lower VTEC solenoid gaskets - 5-12-2018
Replacing the gaskets is ridiculously easy and only takes a 10mm socket so I figured this is something I could tackle myself. The only thing that usually catches people is over tightening the bolts and snapping them during re-installation so I picked up a simple 1/4" drive torque wrench so I wouldn't make that mistake and turn this simple job into a bigger event. I unclipped the plugs going to the solenoid and oil pressure switch then removed the three 10mm bolts holding the upper solenoid itself. The old gasket didn't look too bad unlike some pictures I've seen. It wasn't brittle but was definitely on the hard side. I cleaned everything off, used some of the oil to lubricate the new gasket and popped it in.

Old upper VTEC solenoid gasket exposed - 5-12-2018
Fresh upper solenoid gasket - 5-12-2018
After putting the top back on, I removed the three bolts holding the solenoid to the head. Same story with the old gasket here, quite flat and hard but not terribly brittle yet. Had to carefully pry it out, cleaned off the surface then installed the new gasket.

Old lower VTEC solenoid gasket - 5-12-2018
New gasket installed - 5-12-2018
Everything was then re-installed and all the bolts torqued to 12Nm (8.7ft-lb). Cleaned up the old nasty grease that had accumulated on the engine as much as I could then took her out for a drive to make sure I still had VTEC and had no leaks and so far so good.

VTEC Solenoid reinstalled - 5-12-2018
Cleaned off engine bay to check for new leaks - 5-12-2018